By Asmau Ahmad
The United Nations and Somalia Fund have launched a multi-donor trust fund to strengthen partnerships between the government, UN and international partners in support of the achievement of Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).
The UN said in a statement that the Somalia Joint Fund, formerly known as Somalia Multi-Partner Trust Fund, with more than 500 million U.S. dollars in contributions since 2014, is one of the largest country-level development funds globally.
Adam Abdelmoula, the Deputy Special Representative of the Secretary-General and Humanitarian Coordinator for Somalia, said that country-level pooled funds such as the Somalia Joint Fund were critical for the UN’s ability to better support development aspirations of the countries concerned.
“The Somalia Joint Fund will provide the necessary flexibility to respond to complex challenges facing Somalia and to maximise synergies across the UN system through joint action,” Abdelmoula said.
He said that the fund, which was launched in Mogadishu, the capital of Somalia, would also serve as a platform for open and honest dialogue between Somalia and its international partners.
The Somalia Joint Fund, administered by the UN Multi-Partner Trust Fund Office in New York, seeks to mobilise 60 million dollars annually in the next three years to support the most critical and strategic priorities in Somalia.
Mohamud Abdirahman, Minister of Planning, Investment and Economic Development, Somalia, said that the fund provided the government with a mechanism to ensure international alignment with national priorities and strengthen national ownership of international development assistance.
ECOWAS urges commitment to youth empowerment
The Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) have called on leaders to recommit to youth empowerment for peace and security.
President of the ECOWAS Commission, Dr Omar Alieu Touray, made the call during presentation of the Status of Implementation of the Community Work Programmes at the ongoing First Ordinary Session of the ECOWAS Parliament in Abuja.
Touray said youth empowerment was crucial to development and also prevented them from joining insurgent groups.
“You see what we have just learned is that the majority of the young people who join groups, join armed groups not out of conviction or out of religious conviction but because they are looking for a job, so we cannot address peace and security without looking at youth employment and giving hope to the youth.”
He said ECOWAS adopted a scheme for youths to gain practical skills and experience in the bloc’s institutions and agencies, and contribute to the implementation of ECOWAS programmes and activities.
“For regional educational development, the new concept of our flagship ECOWAS Nnamdi Azikiwe Academic Mobility Scheme (ENAAMS) was adopted with the main objective of enabling youths to gain practical skills and experience in ECOWAS Institutions/Agencies and contribute to the implementation of ECOWAS programs and activities.
“For the 2023 cohort, we have 90 young graduates, competitively selected from 24,332 applications, showing the increased value of the programme as one of the commission’s flagship programs for an ECOWAS of the peoples.
“Furthermore, the ECOWAS Commission organised the first African Forum for Research and Innovation (FARI) in October 2023 in Abuja.”
The commission’s president said FARI had been a framework for cooperation to develop multinational and sectoral partnerships with research professionals and decision makers.
On intra-regional trade, Touray said ECOWAS faced a very low level and it planned to deepen integration by enhancing intra community trade.
He identified communities, like the European Union, that had intra community trade of over 70 per cent.
Touray said West Africa intra community trade hovered around 13 per cent and a maximum of 15 per cent, when it was any good.
He also mentioned that the region was working on the removal of non-tariff barriers.
“This is why the commission has set up a Presidential Task Force chaired by the former President of the Commission, Dr Ibn Chambers, to help us address some of these non-tariff barriers that are blocking trade within the community.
“If you move from Lagos to Abuja, I am sorry to say, but you will likely face nothing less than 100 roadblocks and some of these roadblocks are not official.
“So, we really have to work together as a community and in a frank manner to address some of these challenges.”